Creativity on the Tree of Life

Tree of Life: Labeling
Originally uploaded by anselm23

This came up in a discussion on Facebook, and I wanted to bookmark this idea — the idea that the Tree of Life from Jewish mysticism is a model of creativity. If there’s some interest in exploring this idea further, I’ll be happy to talk about some ways that a public or private school teacher could alter this model to help them teach kids to be more creative.

Via Flickr:
Another way to think of a model of Creativity is the Tree of Life: the mind of God (white circle at the top) generates an idea. It comes to the realm of the Fixed Stars — a vague, bad draft. You critique and limit that idea — Saturn. You find what’s beautiful — The Sun. You are generous to the idea — Jupiter… while also being vicious to it — Mars. You draw into your idea the concepts of universal form and common language, and recognizable symbolism — Mercury. You accept the energies of love and abundance — Venus — in order to give a strong outer form and image to the idea — Moon — in order to manifest it in the material world — Earth/Malkuth. Good luck!

Update: I made a short (6-second) video on Vine, showing the basic run-down of steps to lay out the Tree of Life, which is available through a link, here.

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  1. Rose, exactly. And yet, there was that ceramics teacher who divided his class in half one year. “You,” he said to one half, “get a grade solely on the basis of one piece of ceramics that you produce this semester. You can make as many as you like, but you can only submit one for a grade, and that’s your grade in this class for the term.” To the other half he said, “you get graded on quantity. The person who produces the largest number of pieces gets an A+, regardless of the quality of the work. Everyone else declines from that grade, based on how many pieces they produce relative to the person who got the A+.”

    There were a lot more A+s in the second group, and the quality of their work was LOADS better, because they put in more practice time. The first group obsessed over the design of their single piece, and didn’t do as well. Quantity, apparently, begets quality eventually…

    • Glad you like it!

      I wish more teachers in our public schools were saying that, though. Too often I hear “you can’t teach creativity.” And it’s a terrible, terrible lie.

    • Good grief, they actually say that? I agree that it is a terrible lie!

      I taught photography and darkroom classes for years and can say otherwise with great certainty. Sure, some have a natural creative “eye”. However, creativity can be nurtured. When you teach the basic principles of art and the creative process, then assist with showing how one’s work is improved with a “crop” here or there, or perhaps illustrate that an image they wanted to toss out is actually incredibly good and explain why, one’s creative “eye” vastly improves. I’ve seen the work of people who most would consider “blah” turn quite good within just one semester.

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